The Chains of Exaltation

Group Writeup - Exaltation

Kagern, after making a “deal” with the The Lintha Family, begins travelling to Wu Jian. Three days out, a Realm naval ship flags them down for an inspection. Panicking, Kagern dumps the most likely illicit cargo into the sea. When he arrives at Wu Jian, he’s greeted by Bodar, and is directed to send the cargo to pier 12. Kagern explains the slight issue with the shipment, and is told to speak to the boss, and so he follows Bodar into the city.

Moarumba meets with his handler, Celestial Blossom, and is given a contract, and a sketch of the young man he is to take out. The sketch shows a cadet uniform. Moarumba is told he has a week, and the fewer questions asked about the death, the better.

Skip continues down a tunnel alone, as the excavators with him are too superstitious to join. After a while, the walls shift from stone and dirt to golden bricks. After gradually removing them, he breaks through after several hours and is greeted by a glowing crystal in a sizable chamber.

Rippling Amber went about his day as per normal in the town of Wahapu Taha Reef; helping farmers with their land and livestock, assisting children fetching water from the freshwater streams, and training in the ways of the Temple of the Indirect Path. He basks with happiness in the sun’s warmth while reflecting on the life he has been blessed with.

Cathak Hannibal sits with her comrades Mnemon Dante and Peleps Hood; the continue observing the legion after a third day without any tasks from the commander. Some companies appear to be getting drilled, while others are milling about n the shade.

Moarumba finds his target observing a military encampment. Figuring that the best course of action is to gather intel and observe, he sneaks into the camp, and procures a uniform, donning it and finding his way into one of the lazy units.

Kagern enters a seedy tavern which smells of various bodily fluids. The bartender, a man so old him seeing anything wouldn’t be expected, sits in the nearly empty establishment. Another man sits in the back, Dragon Turtle chain smoking from a pipe. As Kagern and Bodar get closer, the pipe smoker’s eyes roll about as if he was in a daze, and then focus on the two while asking for a report. Bodar expediently defers to Kagern as he steps aside. Kagern again, regales the situation of needing to dump the cargo, and frames it up well enough that the boss states that killing the merchant would be too steep, so they’ll be settling for a solid beating. Dislike his imminent future, Kagern barters the ironsilk that also was in the cargo hold, and not thrown over, as a way to pad the boss’s pockets and all would agree that this meeting never happened, as Kagern never showed. Wiping sweat from his brow while stepping outside, Kagern felt like the day was a bit brighter and near anything seemed possible.

As Skip entered the tomb, he spies the sarcophagus; it depicts a woman in long flowing robes, and everything seems to be made of gold. The glowing stone fits into a recess of the tiara carved into the grave. As solars were often buried with their equipment, Skip gets quite excited to see what hehad found, but remains cautious to check for any traps that may have been left ages ago. Not finding any, Skip pulls an iron rod to assist him opening the lip, but finds he cannot do it alone.

Screams cut through the night air, waking Rippling Amber from his slumber. Without a though, the monk grabs his sword and dashes into the night. The town below the monastery is in flames, and as Rippling Amber nears, he sees no men are assisting with the water lines. Sensing something further amiss, he continues further into the smoldering town.

Hannibal makes her way to the commander’s tent, but is stopped by the guards. After a brief exchange of words, especially referencing orders to be followed, she gains entry to speak with the general. A man of incredible fatty proportions resides within the command tent, seemingly unperturbed by the cadet’s interruption. Hannibal asks how she can help, but the Cynis commander is acerbic in responses back. The commander begins provoking the cadet by insinuating that she has an issue with ho he controls camp; Hannibal attempts to politely deflect, but the commander continues to pressure her as he sniffs the air and calls out the lie. Frustrated, Hannibal states that his men are lazy bags of bones which seemed to amuse the portly commander.

Bringing up hypotheticals, he asks what would happen if they were attacked right now, and Hannibal responded without hesitation that this company would not do well, which seemed to be exactly the point the Cynis commander had hoped for, as he has no love for the Ragaran lands they’re currently protecting. The commander, ending the conversation, tells Hannibal that there will be no work for her while she’s here, so she may as well enjoy herself for the next 4 months. Beyond frustrated, Hannibal storms out, and she and the other cadets begin walking to the edge of camp.

Always keeping an eye on his target, Moarumbra begins ingratiating himself with other soldiers, by offering up some guat. The soldiers that accept overindulge, and after about 10 minutes of waiting while one of the cadets entered the command tent, she leaves and begin walking to the outskirts of the base; the assassin follows.

Frustrated that the cover of the sarcophagus isn’t playing along, Skip uses his digging tools to break the golden lid. As a hold forms, Skip pulls away the debris and finds a simple, relatively unadorned, skeleton, but the bony arms are clasping a bow over the empty chest. Moving away the arms as the escavator had only eyes for the gorgeously ornate weapon, he picks up the bow, surprised at how heavy it is. In examining the weapon, the room gets brighter while the bow seems lighter. Suddenly, Skip is overlooking an island assault. He defends his stronghold, raining down arrows of fire, burning away nearly a third of the forces himself, however it’s not enough, and he is overrun, experiencing his own death.

Back in the crypt, Skip shakes his head, but testing the weapon, he finds that an arrow of light appears from no where when the bow is drawn back; firing the weapon, the ammunition materializes and buries itself within the solid stone.

Delving deeper into the burning town brings Rippling Amber to fallen men, who remain motionless in response to the conflagration around them. After checkin the men, all appear dead, and some seem to be missing limbs. Continuing on, the sounds of battle enter his ears, and Rippling Amber moves with alacrity to investigate. Finding the source of the commotion, killed villagers appear to be strewn about, many carved, separating bodies in twain, as a large black-clad figure with a sword seemingly made out of shadows rends them asunder. The monk call for the others to fall back as he enters a stance to defend what’s left of his people from sharing the same fate as those already felled.

With an unsettling feeling of being followed, Hannibal leaves the camp to a fair clearing in the nearby woods to speak privately with Dante and Hood (while Moarumbra shadows the group). Hannibal, still in a tizzy, states that she wishes to leave this place at once. Dante mentions that he has a cousin who could take them on a cruise to the Western archipelagos, and back and time before their assignment was over, however Hood spoke sense in seeing the mission through, regardless of how upsetting it may be. Hannibal finally ceded the point, and the party sets back on the route to the encampment.

Seeing as good of an opportunity as ever, Moarumbra fires a poisoned dart from his blowgun at his target, Mnemnon Dante. With perhaps an uncanny sense for danger, Hannibal see the attack and attempts to shove her friend out of the way, however the dart pierces Dante’s foot. Hood, quick to respond, throws a hidden dagger at the assailant and the blade finds purchase in the shoulder of the assassin. Running away, Moarumbra calls out that he was simply following orders, as the others sees a soldier scurry off into the over-brush. While Hannibal tends to Dante, Hood gives chase.

The dark figure lumbered forward, swinging his massive blade, and Rippling Amber use the Single Point Shining into the Void style of martial arts, in which the blade draw and attack were one in the same, and while the defense did deflect the attack, the tip of the monk’s blade was shorn off. The black-clad butcher followed with a second swing at nearly alarming speed which dropped the monk speedily. Unable to get up, the protector began blacking out, but light became nearly blinding; a four-armed creature lifted Rippling Amber to his feet, stating that he had been chosen for perseverance and dedication and that Creation needed more people like him. Feeling renewed he called out to the murderer as he was laying into more townspeople; the beast of a man faced Rippling Amber, and began making a raspy and hideous sound which must have been amusement. He then charged the town’s defender, launching him through a burning building. Knowing that he couldn’t take many more direct attacks, Rippling Amber stayed on the defensive, and attempted to bait the monster away from the town, providing more time for the citizens to flee. Finally, Rippling Amber squares off against the attacker on a burning pier, having moved as far away from the town as he dared. Being unable to match the speed of the attacks, Rippling Amber felt the bite of his enemy’s daiclave in his chest, and fell into the sea.

Having brought Dante to the military encampment, the medics are somewhat befuddled as to the state the young noble is in; when they finally determine that poison was used, they state that the only way to save the cadet’s life is through amputation. As bad news tends to come in waves, it doesn’t take long to hear that Hood’s body was found in the woods – slain. Hannibal hides away in her room for a while, lamenting on her current situation, and those losses her friends have endured, and through her suffering, she finds that she begins to glow. Hating what she had become, Hannibal does what she can to cover herself, and then abandons the military to find the ship Dante had mentioned earlier in the day.

Moarumbra, having treated his wounds, makes his way back to town to report in. In meeting with Celestial Blossom, the assassin recounts the story that, while Moarumbra can’t confirm that the target is dead, he was shot with a poisoned dart. The handler seems apalled at the mention of the word he, and states that the Cassick was the target, not the Mnemon; arguing briefly that the he acted on the information provided, moarumbra soon relented, and then found that Hannibal was on a ship to Wu Jian and, should Moarumbra hurry, he could finish the job.

The cavern begins to shake, and Skip takes that as an invitation to leave. Dashing through the tunnels, the explorer launches himself onto the grassy knoll outside the tomb just as part of the hillside collapses in on itself, burying other secrets with it. Hiding the bow away from all, Skip returns to his father, explaining that it was a failed expedition. Furious, Karn fumes for days. One day, during breakfast, Karn explains to Skip that the time has come for his son to no longer be given anything – he must make it on his own. The final gift the elder Darkwater would present to his son is one-way travel to Wu Jian to set out on his own.

Rippling Amber regains his senses and hears a young boy attempting to not cry, and a woman shushing them. As he opens his eyes, he finds that he’s on a small boat adrift at sea; Leilana is rowing, while two small huddle together trying to comfort one another. The woman states that all others within the town seemed to have perished at the hands of the dark figure, and that this boat, and those in it, are all that remain of the town and temple. The monk flutters in and out of consciousness, and days later, a snake seems to materialize out of no where on the boat. The children are frightened, but Sideways seems pleased that the monk survived, and then asks if he will accept his teachings; agreeing to the spirit’s question, Sideways disappears as quickly as he arrived.

Wandering about the city, Hannibal senses that someone is following her, and although she doesn’t see him, Moarumbra does back off, noticing his mark seeming to tense up. While Hannibal continues wandering trying to shake her shadow, Moarumbra heads to The Unknown Blessing, an inn in Wu Jian, where he provides a note for Hannibal to determine which room she’s staying in, then moseys upstairs to await in her chambers until she comes back.

The young Cassick returns to the inn, and waits in the common room for a while to try and settle her nerves.

Also within the tavern, Ukur asks Kagern when he should get the men back to the ship. After a brief discussion, Kagern agrees with his first-mate that they need to set out soon otherwise the men may find work on other vessels. The first mate heads off to round up the men for a voyage tomorrow or the next day while Kagern attempts to get some work for himself by mingling with others in the common room, purposefully avoiding the academic who doesn’t seem to stop talking.

Skip, who tends to avoid people he’s spoken to before as they seem strangely interested in the large satchel he always carries around, sees a new person who seems to have recently been injured, as he still walks stiffly and has a fair amount of bandages still. Skip begins asking Rippling Amber about all sorts of things, focusing in on battles; sensing a touchy subject, Hannibal interjects herself to lead Skip away to leave the monk in relative peace.

There’s a shift in the room’s atmosphere as two people enter the inn; they are obviously related due to their looks, and both are decked out in jade armor, and have with them jade daiclaves. They glance about the room, obviously eager to cause trouble; finding nothing apparent, they move to a table and are promptly served drinks.

Not having found any luck yet, Kagern appears a mite dejected when the dragon-blooded soldiers call out to him. After a bit of harassing the captain, all parties come to an accord to bring the two to Kaul, in the South; Kagern doesn’t feel comfortable with the travel arrangements, as that brings him back into the territory of The Lintha Family, however the soldiers state that they’ll protect the ship as needed. After imbibing enough liquor, one of the dragon-blooded focuses in on Hannibal, and begins asking her various questions. Having decided she must be a deserter from the Realm’s army, they state that they will take her to the magistrate to verify standings, however, not wanting to go back, Hannibal draws her sword and attempts to attack.

Knowing a battle was brewing, Rippling Amber intercepts the other swordsman from reaching his kin. The dragon-blooded begin smoldering as the battle progresses, and fires continue as Skip launches projectiles of flame from his masterfully crafted bow. Moarumbra, having heard the commotion heads downstairs, and briefly thinks that this battle may make his work a bit easier, and then he sees the caste mark on Hannibal’s forehead and a memory floods back in from a past life: Everyone he has ever loved…everyone he has ever known…slaughtered. Dragon-blooded walking away from the killing field, which was once his home. All because dragon-blooded cannot abide by Solars. Enraged, Moarumbra launches himself at the soldier attacking what was once his target, saving her from further cuts.

In the wake of the fight, the battlers look about and see that there are four Solar Exalted here: a Dawn, a Zenith, a Twilight, and a Night…. Could an Eclipse also be near?



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